Wednesday, May 30, 2007

There has been a lot of talk about expanding gambling Illinois as part of the State’s new budget as away to increase the State’s revenues with out raising taxes, according to rumors there may be as many four new land based casinos, expansion of existing river boats, slot machines at race tracks, phone betting and sport booking making. While I have no problem with the legalization of gambling in Illinois is with the state licensing system for casinos and reports that one of the casinos may be owned by the city of Chicago. The Illinois licensing system has already been shown to produce corruption and problem with owner with question background and political ties, as can be seen by the troubled current ten licenses for a river boat casino that original was going to be in Rosemont, which has not been used yet because of legal problems. With Chicago history of corruption and ties between government official and criminal elements does anyone think that it is a good idea to give the city of Chicago ownership of a casino?

Another questionable piece of legislation tied to the expansion of gambling would give 10 million of the 40 million dollars expected in revenue from the 10 gaming license to go Chicago State University with the remaining 30 million being split between all of the other state universities. One has to wonder why Chicago State, which has only 6,000 students and is the small of the state universities, should get a quarter of the new revenues and far more than the larger state universities. The only possible reason could be the strong ties between Chicago State and Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones.

Tonight the Illinois State House of Representatives is set to pass a budget that is very low in spending growth that would include 290 million dollars more in funding for schools and in increase in State revenues of 1.1 billion, 800 million of which would come from growth of State revenues due to increase tax revenues from economic growth and the remaining 300 million would come from the proposed closing of tax loop holes. While this budget doesn’t include spending cuts and reforms that the State direly needs, it is far better than the massive increases in spending that the Governor want and the economy crippling taxes that would come with it. There is going to have be some major changes in the leadership and make up of the State General Assembly before we see the fiscal changes that the State needs and the tax payer deserve.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

State Government Waste

Today more information about government waste in the office of Governor Blagojevich has come out. Today it turned out that the total bill from the lawsuit against the State law that total cost of defending the unconstitutional violent video game law that Governor Blagojevich introduced was not 500,000 dollars as his office previously claimed, but over 1 million dollars due to legal bill incurred by hiring lawyers to defend the Governor. The cost of the additional 500,000 dollars were charged to such varying departments as the Departments of Human Services, Children and Family Services, Public Health, Corrections, Revenue, and the State Police. What reason would there be for these departments to pay for the legal bills related to a video game law? The answer is there is no real reason, the reason that it happened this way was so that the Governor office could try and cover up the true cost of the law suit. So a bad law that should never have been passed, bug the Governor pushed through in order to try and win more support for his re-election bid ends up costing the tax payers over a million dollars.

Yesterday State House Speaker Mike Madigan indicated that there is not enough support to pass an increase in the state sales and income tax. Hopefully this mixed with the death of the Gross Receipts Tax will force the State General Assembly to look close at spending and cut back on needed spending and programs and inject some fiscal discipline into the state. If the state can not be responsible with what it is taking in now, why should they be trust with billions more of our dollars?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Protecting Incumbents and Hurting Voters

It seems all but certain that the Illinois will move it primary to February 5 next year from its traditional March date. Will it’s good that Illinois will have stronger voice in the Presidential Primaries; this will be in bad in part because the state is also moving the primary for all other state, county and federal offices back to February the 5th too. This is gong to provide more protection for incumbent candidates. The early primary date means that campaigning will have to start in November and December during the holiday season, when a large percentage of the electorate will not be paying attention. This is going to benefits incumbent candidates since they have a stronger name recognition and candidates that maybe trying to challenge them during a primary will have hard time making up this advantage in name recognition since it will be harder for to get their name out their because most voters will not be paying as much attention to political races during the holiday season and they will only have the end of January to try and make up for this. It will also favor candidates with more money and support for the political structure since they will have an advantage from the start and it will be hard for outsider candidates to one get name traction and race money and then use that make up for any weakness they have in name recognition or political insider supports that other candidates may have. While Illinois needs to move back it Presidential primary so that will have more of say in choosing the Republican and Democratic nominee for President, we need to leave all of the other primaries where they are. Everyone should contact their State Reps and Senators and tell them this, give us a stronger voice in the Presidential Primaries, but don’t give incumbent and name candidates extra protection.

Every one that is boxing fan or has any kind of interest in it should watch tomorrows card on HBO, while the main event between Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor and former Welterweight King and Lt. Middleweight Champion Corey Spinks may not be much of fight, the under card fight of Edison Miranda and Kelly Pavlik could be a classic. Pavlik is a tall stronger aggressive boxer-puncher and Miranda is a all action puncher with a huge shot, who batter top Super Middleweight prospect Allen Green in his last fight.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Death of the Gross Receipts Tax

I know it’s been a wile since I Have last posted, but I have been busy with finals and grading papers, so here we go. Last week the Illinois State House held an advisory vote on the Gross Receipts tax and 107 seven members voted against with 7 voting present and zero voting for it. Immediately before the vote Governor Blagojevich told his supports in the Illinois House to vote against the measure saying that something like this was to important for advisory votes and that they should vote no as protest. IT should be clear the real reason he told them to vote no was he realized that there would be close to hundred no votes any way and he knew that getting hundred no votes would pretty much kill the Gross Receipts Tax, so this was a measure of desperation on his part.

Every voter in the State should write his representive in the State House and thank them for voting no on the Gross Receipts Tax. For to longer the citizens of Illinois have been asked to pay for wastefully and unneeded State programs, by both Democrats and Republicans. It’s time for that to change, the State need finical responsibility before there is an consideration of new taxes, because if not the new tax revenues will be wasted and we will ended up in the same boat we are in now in 5 to 10 years. New taxes will hurt everyone in the state, reducing the incomes of the states poorest, middle class and richest alike and hurt economic and job growth.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Illinois Medical Soceity and the Gross Recepits Tax

Today the Illinois Medical Society the leading medical organization in the state representing over 13,000 doctors came out against Governor Blagojevich’s 7 billion dollar tax increase plan, the Gross Receipts Tax and the much less mentions but just as bad payroll tax. While the IMS support medical reform in Illinois it oppose the Governors the plan as to costly. IT tells you something when a group whose members would stand to gain a lot of money from a plan opposes, it tells you that it’s a very bad plan for the state.

Illinois at the moment does not need any new tax, the state is finally recovering economically after lagging behind the rest of the nation and any added tax burden would hurt the State’s recovery. What the State needs is fiscal reasonability on the part of the General Assembly and the Governor, over his 4 plus years in office the Governor has continued the state bad tradition of not full funding it pension programs, but he has also added millions, if not billions, of dollars in spending on unneeded programs that in some case duplicate services offered by existing programs. How about before adding any new taxes we try and control spending and close up the loopholes in the existing tax laws? The Governor like to say that opponents of his Gross Receipts Tax are all greedy business and their lackies, but opposition has come from his own party and from liberal groups that are not usually consider to be pro-business, such as the Illinois Green Party.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Taxes and the Illinois Economy

Too much of the talk about the Illinois State budget has been about how to raise taxes, not whether or not it is the state’s best interest to have more taxes. Illinois has lagged behind the rest of country during the economic recovery of the last few years and we are final now starting to catch up, the last quarter had one of the strongest periods of economic growth for the State since 2000. Taxes create a number of distortances in the economic that hurt economic growth, not only do they take money out of the hands of the consumer that could be used to buy goods and service or make investments that produced new jobs and economic growth, taxes also produce a large deadweight loss, for a further explanation of deadweight losses see my previous posts, because of these dead weight losses, for every dollar you take out of the economy, you loses another 60 cents to a dollars in economic activity. What this means is that unless the government programs funded by those tax dollars produce a $1.60-$2.00 dollars in benefits for every tax dollar spent, there is going to be a net loss to the economy. This net loss means is slower economic growth, fewer jobs, lower paying jobs, ect. So both the State decides to raise taxes or add any new government spending programs, they and the public need to take a long look at the cost and the benefits and make sure that the benefits outweigh the costs. While many government programs may seem to be nice and people might like them, it does not mean that they should be put in place because there cost to society in general is greater than there benefits. The Illinois economy is final starting to recover, the Governor, the General Assembly and the voters should take a long look before support any taxes or spending programs that will hurt economic growth because strong economic growth will help far more people than any government programs.